Navig8 Group, an industry leader in adopting new digital technologies for opitimising its ship operations, has actively been engaged in a project by which it equips its pool vessels with electronic sensors in an effort to get and assess real time information about the vessels’ performance.
In an interesting interview with Tradewinds, the Group’s Digital Director, Jan Wilhelmsson, says that what Navig8 can do with those sensors on its ships is similar with what people can do with the use of wrist-worn activity trackers.
Practically speaking, with the use of this technology, Navig8 can gain real-time information of how factors such as hull-fouling marine growth and weather conditions affect the transit speeds and fuel consumption of its vessels. Thereafter, the assesment of information allows the company to correct its practices in real time.
As a result, the company achieves a waste reduction, which is the key focus of this technology. This is the way the company can make money out of this technology, says Wilhelmsson. By spending less in waste. The first effect that the company can experience is increased efficiency.
However, installing the hardware is just the first step of the journey. Analyzing, understanding and optimizing the data is the complex part of process according to the digital director of Navig8, and this is where the company focuses currently. Optimisation depends on various parameters, he says, and it is not always objective. Therefore, bringing the data together remains a challenge.
Wilhelmson refers also on the difficulties that Navig8 has faced in order to make this system a reality, since a lot of the vessels which participate in its pools are not owned by Navig8. Actually the company is acting as Owner of vessels, as Charterer and as Commercial Manager. For its owned vessels, the decision was easy and the company installed heavier equipment which cost approximately $50,000 – $100,000.
On the other hand, according to Wilhelmson, the decision of installing such sensons on vessels owned by other people has met resistance. Therefore, so far, in the pool vessels lighter installations are chosen which cost around $5,000, can be installed in a single port call and provide access to just generic information.
Our industry is still very traditional, Wilhelmson says, and people are afraid of the unknown. There are a lot of concerns around the side effects of an innovation. Although this approach is gradually changing, according to Wilhelmson, as the benefits of digitalisation become more and more clear to everyone.
“I think there will be a day when this becomes natural. Just as you come in and you take a job and you get a cellphone and just use it. You don’t start questioning, ‘Does this particular phone have this and that data security’” he concluded.